Cynthia Nixon Beats Breast Cancer

"Sex and the City" star reveals a nearly two-year old breast cancer diagnosis and a clean bill of health

By Gina Serpe Apr 16, 2008 5:56 PMTags
Cynthia NixonJason Kempin/

Here's one happily ending Sex and the City sequel.

Cynthia Nixon has revealed she was diagnosed with breast cancer a year and a half ago but opted not to announce her diagnosis before now to keep her private battle out of the public forum.

"I didn't really want to make it public while I was going through it," she said on Good Morning America Tuesday. "I didn't want paparazzi at the hospital, that kind of thing."

Now cancer free, Nixon said she was first diagnosed during her 2006 starring run in the Broadway play The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

"I felt scared," she said. "I thought, 'Oh, I don't want this to be happening.' I was very cognizant of if it's going to happen, this is the best way for it to happen, that it's found so early and we can just get right on it."

The diagnosis wasn't a complete shock for Nixon, who had dealt firsthand with cancer before. Her mother, Ann, was diagnosed and successfully beat the disease when the actress was 12 years old.

"I always sort of thought, I'm probably going to get breast cancer," she said. "There's a really good chance." 

The 42-year-old Emmy and Tony winner said she found out about her disease after a routine mammogram revealed a "very small" spot of cancer that needed to be removed.

The consummate professional scheduled her surgery for a Sunday to avoid missing a single performance of her stage show. Following the operation, she underwent six and a half weeks of daily radiation treatment.

While Nixon dealt with the health scare in an extremely practical, matter-of-fact way, she said those close to her had various ways of coping with the news.

"My girlfriend was very scared," she said of her partner of four years, Christine Marinoni. "She was in a panic. She was just trying to calm herself down any way she could."

Nixon and Marinoni, both of whom are referred to by Nixon's two children as "mom," also broke the news to the kids together, who handled it remarkably well.

Costar Kristin Davis, on the other hand, failed to maintain her cool.

While the Sex and the City series had already wrapped, and the Sex and the City movie not yet entered into production, Nixon said she called her close pal to inform her of the diagnosis. Davis' loving, if not entirely logical, response: to jump up in her chair and refuse to retreat until she was assured by Nixon that all would be well.

As for the Sex and the City storyline in which Kim Cattrall's character, Samantha Jones, was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer, Nixon says she now believes the series handled the storyline "beautifully."

"Leave it to Samantha to make a party out of cancer."

Nixon has since been named the new spokesperson for Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. As an ambassador for the foundation, the world's largest breast cancer advocacy organization, she will appear in a series of TV and radio public service announcements to educate people on the disease.